(Adds more details, context on gov't policy)
SYDNEY, April 21 (Reuters) - Australia's DUET Group
on Friday said it had been advised by Cheung Kong Infrastructure
Holdings (CKI) that the Australian government has
approved the Hong Kong company's $5.5 billion consortium-led
There had been concerns the government could reject the deal
after it last year blocked CKI from buying a state-owned power
grid, Ausgrid, on the grounds of "national security". The DUET
assets include a smaller power grid as well as a gas distributor
and a major gas pipeline.
DUET chairman Doug Halley said shareholders would now be
able to vote on the CKI bid at a meeting later on Friday
following the approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board
DUET shares jumped 9.5 percent at the open to A$3.01
($2.26), just under the A$3.03 offer price, having traded well
below the bid price on concerns the deal could be blocked.
In January, Australia formed a new body to oversee
investment in critical infrastructure assets, including power
grids. The government in February said it would weigh long-term
geopolitical considerations when assessing bids for those
The CKI-led consortium also includes Cheung Kong Property
Holdings and Power Asset Holdings.
($1 = 1.3305 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Jane Wardell and Jamie Freed; Editing by Shri